Trip Report - Ratnagiri (Bhatye beach) and Ganapatipule via Aarey varey

#1 Jan 27th, 2012, 22:44
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  • sidch is offline
#1
hi all,

This is a quick trip report - not much to write cos it was a very short weekend trip to celebrate our 9th Anniversary...did not do much sight seeing, just relaxed (although there is loads to check out around Ratnagiri - that will be for my next longer trip sometime this year)

Here we go then -

Contrary to the usual smart option of taking a train, we decided to take our car all the way to Ratnagiri from Mumbai. Having never visited Malvan, Sindhudurg (including our driver) this was always going to be a bit of a hit and miss and an arduous journey. We had already booked ourselves in for the weekend at Ratnasagar Resort on Bhatye beach (2 kms from Ratnagiri town) so whatever the time taken, we were sure we would have a comfortable place to relax at the end of the day.

Departed at 7:30 am from my place in Borivli - stopped at 8:15 to pick up a friend (and family) from Airoli and left for the trip at around 9:30 am. (no pics sorry, not the most scenic places on the map!)

After a reasonably quick drive, we reached Mangaon fairly quick via Karnala, and halted there for lunch, thinking that we have done pretty good time. Unfortunately, nothing could be further fr0m the truth.

We were well on course till we crossed Chiplun - beautiful views just prior to reaching Chiplun - a lovely river meandering through the valley (I reckon its the Godavari - wish I had paid more attention to the map!)




The beautiful river valley (shot from the car)



After Chiplun, we were guided by Google maps - which are great when you have good reception/3G but can be quite tricky when you do not. (yes I should get a nice satNav GPS thingy) Also the google maps show you some narrow backroads which tend to take you through some strange places (as we discovered) unless you have the brains to make the right choice (which we sadly did not)

After Chiplun, somehow we drifted off left, deep in the interiors, climbing hills, passing forests and wondering where the famous coastal road was! After some ribbing by our wives, as late evening drew close, we stopped and had a walk through a lovely secluded forest (which was good fun but well I do not have any pics!)

We then drove off again, this time asking directions and apparently passing by Jaigad fort (no idea cos it was dark by then) We were stupidly asking for a way to Ganapatipule whereas our resort was in Ratnagiri (notch one more mark up on our idiocy)

Thankfully we did FINALLY reach the resort at 7:30 pm. Not too many complaints though, since the ride was still quite enjoyable and pretty

Also, that meant we had no idea of the beauty that awaited us the next day.

Saturday night, we relaxed in our cottage (ratnasagar does not have rooms, only cottages) and is bang on Bhatye beach. It was awesome to relax out in the open with the sound of the waves in the distance, having our dinner and some nice alcoholic stimulants

The resort is really awesome and beautifully laid out. Staff that is courteous, non-intrusive and in general fairly quick service.

Next morning, had our breakfast in the Restaurant. This restaurant has been tastefully done with a lovely view of the infinity pool and the sea on the other side. Pics below -




Restaurant looking to the sea




Restaurant looking out over the infinity pool



After breakfast, wife and daughter went off for a swim while I wandered off onto the beach to explore.

...and what a beach it was - crystal clear water - whitish brown sands extending far in the distance, with the Southern side ringed by lovely hills forming coves and the Northern end taking a breather round a hill before continuing back down again behind it. On top of the hill was the lighthouse commanding a brilliant view.





the beach looking south




a bird looking for a crabby snack




the crystal clear waters




the blue sea




the unending beach at the northern end - notice hardly anyone around even on a weekend in Jan!




The north again with the lighthouse on top of the hill




Swim session over, time to leave for the famous Ganpatipule temple. We all piled in and this time got proper directions on how to go via the coastal (scenic) road through Aarey varey.

THIS was the highlight of our journey...a stunning coastal road that reminded me of the coastal road along the Isle of Skye (Scotland) Beautiful clear blue water, white sands and a profusion of colour - yellow, green, red....really stunning. Feat your eyes on the pics below...I do not think commentary is necessary (I could not comment much anyway cos I do not have any idea of the beaches we saw - just know they were stunning!)

All pics are of beaches we saw on the way - arranged in serial order. (I have only labelled the coastal road)





the coastal road

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Some beautiful beaches along the road









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Just a short while before Ganpatipule, we passed through this amazing section where the road had been cut through the hill - giving it a canyon look on both sides (I missed taking the pic of the best section but this will give an idea!)



the road through the hill

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More beach goodness










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After about an hour/hour and a half worth drive we reached the Ganpatipule temple which is on the beach. The beach here was crowded and not really worth clicking pics or visiting because we had already been spoiled by some unbelievably beautiful secluded beaches along the way.

Its worth mentioning here that MTDC has a beautiful property bang on the beach but I'm not sure I would stay at ganpatipule because of the crowd... would rather stay at Aarey varey or Bhatye.

Closing off with a pic of the ganpatipule temple and a beautiful traditional house where we stopped enroute for lunch. (Did I mention, the food was simple and unbelievably tasty)




The temple




the house (where we had lunch and then picked up home grown suparis)




We returned back and enroute decided to visit the lighthouse. We were a bit late - as the light mechanism starts off by 4:30 and the guards do take you up and explain the workings (more importantly show the awesome view) BUT not after the auto mechanism has kicked in. Note that the lighthouse is part of the Ratnagiri fort premises (also known as Bhagwati cos of the Bhageshwar temple) and this fort is also truly beautiful and quite big and worth exploring (will do next time I am here) I also have to mention the presence of a nicely polished (painted) cannon along the rampart walls, ready to shoot ships out of the water




the lighthouse (the cannon is the long sleek silver cylinder on the right)



the view looking south (the beach in the distance is Bhatye)



the open sea looking west



the view looking North east where you can see the fort



another view through the rampart opening




The evening was spent on the beach lazing around while my daughter went off collecting shells. Sorry for the sad quality of the pics, Blackberrys are notorious for not being great in dim light conditions.



sunset on the beach



sunset on the beach looking toward the lighthouse




Night was another party in the sit out with the waves crashing in the distance enjoying a hearty meal

That's about it! phew... took a lot of typing for a supposedly short report!
Some of my ramblings!

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#2 Jan 28th, 2012, 00:48
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  • Rachelle is offline
#2
Hi Sidch,

What a beautiful and informative post! I hope you don't mind a few questions. Forts typically are not very appealing to me but your photos and descriptions have made me rethink that.

We are planning a trip in April to travel south from Mumbai - final destinations TBD. Not sure how far south to travel (myself and the kids). The idea of staying at a place with a pool is appealing to me for the kids.

We would be traveling by train from Mumbai. Any idea which station the resort is accessible to? How long it will take?

How long was the car ride to the temple you visited? Do you think the resort you stayed at would have the ability to arrange a car for us?

Thanks for reading! :-)
Rachelle
#3 Jan 28th, 2012, 11:02
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  • sidch is offline
#3
hi Rachelle,

The resort do send a vehicle to the station for pick up (and drop) They are a bit pricey (charging Rs. 700) but well, if you are coming down for a few days off, might as well indulge! This is of course a semi luxury resort (I only say semi cos the rates aren't that expensive and if you go on a weekday you can easily get a good discount - speak to Mr. Shaikh - the afternoon shift manager at the front desk) This is the website (the pictures are pretty accurate) http://www.ratnasagarresorts.com/

The closest railway station is Ratnagiri (station code 'RN') Here's a chart of the train and timings departing form Mumbai.



btw please note the resort rates - on weekends they charged me Rs. 4500 per night for a standard cottage including breakfast (also inclusive of all taxes) on weekdays you might even get them for perhaps Rs. 3000 (not sure though!)

The difference between standard and deluxe cottages is in size primarily and that they have a slightly bigger sit out area and also are located closer to the restaurant/pool. Honestly speaking, it really does not make much difference, but if you can afford it, splurge!

______________________________ ____________________________

Just a thought - if you are planning to go all the way to Ratnagiri, it might be worth going to Sindhudurg - Tarkarli/Devbag beach (which is pretty awesome too... am yet to visit it though!) The only problems here are ...

a. Its a bit further off as compared to Ratnagiri and if you go by train, the beach is a distance from the station (apparently)

b. the only resort on the beach is the MTDC resort - which sounds pretty awesome but needs to be booked in advance ... and Im not so sure how good the service would be, considering its a government run joint.

c. With SIndhudurg becoming popular, its likely there would be more crowd on the beach here as compared to ratnagiri which isn't actually considered much of a tourist destination!


______________________________ ____________________________

The positives?

a. Seems the beaches here are stunning!!! ...with water so clear you can see 20 feet down to the sea bed (will definitely check this out when I have the chance!)

b. Scuba diving and snorkelling are supposed to be run by the MTDC at Devbag beach close-by from here.


______________________________ ____________________________

If you are interested in going to Tarkarli, you need to get off at Kudal station. This is the list of trains going there. (departing Mumbai)



If you need any further help, please let me know

oh and my personal choice - go by car from Mumbai. The journey actually takes around 7-8 hours (including breakfast/lunch stops) While getting there, make sure you follow the NH17 till beyond Chiplun and then drive down straight to Ratnagiri town from where its 2 kms away. While at the resort, experiment and discover the most scenic coastal roads so that even if you get lost, you aren't tired!

Also note that this is the Mumbai Goa highway - a dangerous stretch of road because of the overtaking and in winter, there is reduced visibility... so please avoid travelling in the night - best option is to leave from your destination by 5 am. We left from Ratnagiri at 5:50 am on Monday to come back home, and despite 2 hours of slow driving through the fog, we made good time and reached Mumbai by 1:30 pm. (including 2 stops - for breakfast and lunch) so... its not all that bad by car. Besides you would love the places you pass by, although the Mahad hill caused quite some discomfort to the kids in the car and induced a mini bout of queasiness , but all was well once the hill was done with.

All the best and I hope you have a great trip!
#4 Jan 28th, 2012, 12:25
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#4
Hey Sidch,

Nice report loved the picture of the lighthouse....Does driving to ratnagiri require great driving skills???? I am just driving since about 6-7 months!!!!for many days were you in that beach resort???

Regards
Kunal.
#5 Jan 28th, 2012, 12:50
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  • sidch is offline
#5
Hi Kunal,

Mine was a very short trip reached on Sat evening and departed on Monday morning!

regarding driving... well - the Mumbai Goa highway is notorious indeed because of the narrow highway (only 2 lanes) and reckless drivers looking to overtake on both sides. This gets especially hairy when it comes to the hill stretch between Mahad and Chiplun.

To put it in perspective, there are multiple accidents daily on this highway, and while we were coming, we saw a truck and a smashed up Dezire by the side. The unforgettable moment though was involving a grey Indica in front of us (2 cars ahead) who had been driving like crazy and overtaking at every opportunity. Around a blind turn, he continued to try and overtake and was nearly crushed under a bus coming up the hill...the gap was literally a matter of inches and the only reason he was saved is because luckily both managed to brake just in time.

After this incident of course, he surrendered tino being a meek kitten and last we looked in the rearview mirror, he was driving at a speed of 40 and having all cars overtake him

So I guess if you are a safe driver and have no intention of overtaking other vehicles, you should be able to make it safely.

If you get bored, I would suggest taking breaks often and relaxing, enjoying the view

There is a right that leads onto Shrivardhan and harihareshwar from Mangaon - they are about 40 kms off the highway and would be cool places to visit and take a break.

Also, do check up some travelogues on the forum - there is a superb coastal route just after mangaon where you can avoid the ghats (hills) and have a scenic and safe drive down the coast. From what a friend said, apparently you have to take a right a few kms after pasisng mangaon (I believe its just past Hotel Vilas ... not sure of the hotel name but it starts with V and can be seen on the left) You need to ask the route to Chandanwari (I think) Basically you got to turn off right towards Dapoli and then cross over via Dabhol on a ferry (which takes cars across)

Once you are on the other side, its a coastal road all the way to Ratnagiri and apparently its spectacular. This is the route I am planning to go by next time!
#6 Jan 28th, 2012, 13:08
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#6
Thanks for all the information sidch...will make it on any weekends......
#7 Jan 28th, 2012, 19:14
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  • naveenamohanrao is offline
#7
Sidch,

to your lovely post! Makes me want to go there ASAP! The first photo is extremely good and the winding road is simple superb! But liked each one of the photo and your narration. Thank you for sharing the link on another thread & making it easy to reach here !
#8 Jan 28th, 2012, 21:17
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#8
Ah, I should be the one thanking all those who read and take the effort to comment. Helps build a rapport and share experiences!
#9 Jan 28th, 2012, 22:40
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#9
Hi Sid,

Wow - once again I am wow'd. First by your writing style and photos and now by what a helpful reply you have given to me! I really appreciate the time you took to do this! I will look forward to reading about your next "trip". I am sure this has been helpful to many!

My Best,
Rachelle
#10 Feb 1st, 2012, 15:23
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  • riz.ratnagiri is offline
#10
hi sidch,
nice review about ratnagiri,actualy i am also from ratnagiri but about your pics and review i am ammage, such a good review,
i am giving some more deep information to all my indiamike freind about ratnagiri.
some point to see
1. titanic point (5star hotel also, samudra resort)
2. bhatey beach
3. thiba point
4. thiba palace(now musuem)
5. mandovi beach
6. light point
7. ratna durg fort
8. are-ware beach (u can call filmi beam, most of movie shoot here)
9. narmada point(near narmada cement factory)
10. mirya bandar
11. mirkarwada jethi
12. karla jethi.

few other places from ratnagiri
1. marleshwar(shiv temple) 60km from ratnagiri near devrukh
2. karneshwar mandir (45km from ratnagiri) near sangmeshwar on NH 17 towrds mumbai
3.ganpatipule(35km from ratnagiri via are-ware)
4. fungus dargah (33km from ratnagiri via airport road,majgaon road)
5. most of mango's farm house anywar near ratnagiri.

1. indica for full day 1000rs for ratnagiri and 1500rs for ganpatipule return(with ratnagiri sightseeing some spot)
2. sumo 1200rs for ratnagiri, 1750rs ganpatipule return(with ratnagiri sightseeing)
3. innova 1500rs ratnagiri, 2000rs ganpatipule retun(with ratnagiri sightseeing)

hotel in ratnagiri
1. vihar delux(good)(1500-2000rs)(a/c)
2. vivek hotel (very good, 1500-2000rs)(a/c)
3. hote landmark(good 1000-2000rs)(a/c)
4. hotel kanchan(ok 1000rs-2000rs)
5. asra lodge (budget 500rs-1500rs for 5-10person)
for restarunt
1. hotel drive inn (very nice, new a/c restarunt, near maruti mandir)(veg, non-veg)
2. hotel vivek(very good, veg, non-veg)
3. hotel mithila (only veg)
4. hotel freinds (special for biryani)
5. dairy near thiba point(special for lassi, u will like it believe me)
6. enjoy at chat galli(khao galli,near maruti mandir)
7. enjoy wada pav also near maruti mandir

avoid in end of april and may, temparature so high also because of costal area so humidity so high, but u will enjoy of fruits like mango, jack fruit(fanas in marathi),karwand,jamun,vilayti kaju, nuts and many more.
#11 Feb 1st, 2012, 15:49
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#11
A great account of a short duration but long chrished trip.

Fantastic pictures. How did you insert them in between the narratives?

I liked the way you guys kept your enthuasiasm intact even after you went off course.
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#12 Feb 2nd, 2012, 18:44
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  • sidch is offline
#12
Thanks saugata and Riz. I will scan some pics of places near Ratnagiri that I was unable to visit, but look forward to. Apparently Marleshwar is a stunning temple and a must visit.

@ saugata - you can insert pics in between narrative using the img tag. I do not upload pics on India Ike, I host them on my own server, perhaps that's what makes it possible?
Last edited by sidch; Feb 2nd, 2012 at 22:51..
#13 Feb 2nd, 2012, 19:02
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#13
Sid - I really liked the report because it gives a perfect idea of what to do if one is looking for a weekend getaway from Mumbai. (I have some overworked friends not on IM) - just like you, he can only drive down when he has 3 days in hand.

I like the captures - they're romantic without being too dramatic.

Good job!
#14 Feb 2nd, 2012, 19:06
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  • saugata41 is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidch View Post @ saugata - you can insert pics in between narrative using the ing tag. I do not upload pics on India Ike, I host them on my own server, perhaps that's what makes it possible?
What is an ing tag, can you please be a bit more specific? Assume I am a novice but not a layman.
#15 Feb 2nd, 2012, 22:54
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#15
Thanks vaibhav..

@ saugata - it was a typo, I meant img!

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